Re: Request for information: Semantics of body parts
|From:||Wesley Parish <wes.parish@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, June 16, 2002, 8:42|
On Sun, 16 Jun 2002 04:39, Tim May wrote:
> There is a widespread desire, in creating a conlang, to avoid simply
> mirroring the semantics of one's L1. I have noticed a number of items
> which lead me to suspect that the naming of parts of the body is one
> area in which natlang semantics are particularly divergent. For
> I believe Japanese has no common word referring to a foot other than
> _ashi_, "leg". Similarly Russian _ruka_ refers to the hand but also
> includes the wrist and forearm. Japanese _kuchibiri_, "lips" refers
> only to the reddish areas edging the mouth, and cannot refer to the
> surrounding area as English _lips_ sometimes does.
> Similarly, the way in which these terms are applied to "equivalent"
> body parts on other animals may vary - English has seperate words for
> the nose of a human, the trunk of an elephant and the beak of a bird,
> but _hana_ in Japanese means both nose and trunk, while _nos_ in
> Russian and _burun_ in Turkish refer to both nose and beak.
> I'd be interested in hearing about similar differences from English
> semantics in both conlangs and natlangs.
For a start, vala lakha has |shawi| for both "jaw" and "tooth", indicating as
far as the Lakhabrech are concerned, the bone breaking/flesh eating function
can't be separated.
In relation to "English" semantics, one might also remember the semantics of
"arse/ass" in one of Quentin Tarantino's movies, I just forget which one,
"I'm going to get mediaeval on your ass". In this case, "arse/ass" applies
to the whole body/person. English supports differing semantics, it would
appear, depending on the social context
Mau e ki, "He aha te mea nui?"
You ask, "What is the most important thing?"
Maku e ki, "He tangata, he tangata, he tangata."
I reply, "It is people, it is people, it is people."